Cover Image: House of Glass Hearts

House of Glass Hearts

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Member Reviews

House of Glass Hearts is a great blend of magic and historical events. It's extremely well-written and the characters are well-developed and empowering. Overall, it's an excellent read.
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There was so much to love about this debut book from author Leila Siddiqui! I loved how the book transports you into two different times of the past and present. It does such a great job of exploring the history of India during WW2. The book is informative about history but also adds this wonderful magical element that you as the reader can't help but get lost and sucked into. My only negative is I felt like the book started a little slow for me. Once I hit 40% of the book I could not stop reading or put it down. Siddiquil does a great job of character development and you really feel as if you are in the backyard right along with the group.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publication house for letting me read this wonderful book.
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TW: Trauma, intergenerational trauma, grief

Maera, a Pakistani-American girl and her mother are still struggling to adjust to the mysterious disappearance of her brother. Soon she finds a magical greenhouse in her backyard after her grandfather passes, and tries to learn it's secrets and reunite her family. This was told in the perspective of Maera's grandfather from the past and her in the present. This was based on Indian history, Middle eastern culture. 

I enjoyed this but at times this was really dark with the unspoken Indian/Pakistani history. What I loved the most is the magical elements of this book and how it seamlessly combines myth and real life. The ending and Maera's character felt flat for me, but nonetheless, it was a great read.

Thank you so much Yali Books for the e-arc.
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I love this kind of plot structure that switches between the past and present. I have read a few of these kinds of books before and I think you can never go wrong with them, especially when you’re implementing heavy subjects such as world war II and the Partition. This way, the story flowed nicely, and the heavy subjects were interwoven in a lighter story of a sister trying to get her long-lost brother back.
What I loved about the plot is that Siddiqui wasn’t afraid to dive straight into the story right away. It pulled me in fast and I loved the narrating styles. As a Dutch woman this book reminded me of the books by Hella S. Haasse, who in her life wrote multiple books about the white and indigenous experience in Indonesia at the time of colonisation and after the world war. I loved her books and definitely loved this one too.
I had no prior experience with Indian and Pakistani culture or history, so this book was a really nice introduction. I could follow along really well and enjoyed the cultural elements implemented in the book. The only thing that pulled me out of the story in the beginning were the Hindi words, like Ammi (mother) and Naana (Grandfather). But after the first time looking up the meaning I was pulled straight back into the story. Now the words carried more meaning and helped the story a fair bit with feeling like you were in India or Pakistan.
I would recommend everyone to read this book to learn about a history that’s not spoken about often enough. I would also strongly recommend the author’s note at the end. If the book didn’t bring you to tears, the author’s note will. Siddiqui tells a very personal story which I felt throughout the book but hearing it directly from her means so much more to me. I loved her book, it was an emotional rollercoaster to read, diving into heavy subjects and shining a light on history that matters.

thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book early. (I did not request this book. It was open for everyone to read).
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This is a solid 4-star book for me and a really good debut. 

This book follows Maera, a Pakistani-American teen; after her grandfather dies, his greenhouse suddenly appears in her backyard, and after years of avoiding talking about the Past and her brother's disappearance, that Past suddenly shows up and is basically unavoidable, and Maera and her mother have to confront it at some point. 

I loved how we were thrown straight into the story, it was perfect because that's basically what happened to these characters. I'm also in love with this concept; avoiding the Past until a physical manifestation of it just shows up in your backyard, unexpected, and I love seeing how all these characters actually dealt with it, it felt very real. This fantasy aspect of the book was a great way of showing how characters dealt with the past. 

I loved the two timelines of Maera's present-day and her grandfather's POV from India right before and during the partition (The reading list in the author's note was great - will definitely check that out) The history was explored through diary entries of his and I loved how everything was slowly revealed and coming together in the end, the reader was reading the diaries as Maera was discovering it and I think that was so much fun. 

I felt like the writing got a bit slow at points in the middle and then really fast in the end (though I do love how the author writes these action-packed scenes that are at the same time really emotional, I did tear up at the end) Some things in the end happened that were expected but other things just completely blew my mind, this was a great book, I definitely recommend this!
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I really enjoyed this book! It was a great read, i didnt want to put it down! I would recommend this to my friends and family
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I’d like to thank NetGalley for letting me read the e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

3.4/5 stars

I enjoyed this book. This is the first time I’ve read a book that follows 2 plot lines - one in the past and one in modern setting. It was very interesting to learn about India’s history during WW2 and the mass migration of Muslims and Hindus crossing the border of India and Pakistan. I’ve never even heard about these events before. I also liked learning more about the Indian and Pakistani culture, along with some legends and terms. 
The magical realism aspect of this book was also good - this weird greenhouse from her grandfather’s house in Pakistan suddenly appears on Maera’s backyard. I would never have guessed the ending!

However, I think that this book is not for everyone. If you don’t like historical fiction - this book is not for you. If you want to read something fast paced - this is not it. Introduction felt like ages for me and there was barely anything happening until like 60-70% of the book. As for the rest 30% - so fast that sometimes I had reread the page to understand what is happening. The ending was sad and surprising.
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A beautifully put together tale of history and magic to throw light on the state of the children of immigrants. 

Under mysterious circumstances, Maera's elder brother Asad vanishes in their grandfather's house in Karachi. After many years, the past resurfaces in the form of a greenhouse in Maera's backyard when her grandfather dies.  With only her grandfather's diary and vague knowledge about her roots, Maera must figure out what happened in the past to protect the present. 

The construction of the plot and two timelines is brilliant. Especially, the narration of India's division after independence, the plight of the people, the yearning and emotion to have their home was so intricate and vivid, that I felt like I was there with them. Although the question of greenhouse and how it is all connected hangs in the air, the Maera's childish nature and not so impactful characters in the present hold the story from attaining its full potential. I felt the actions of Maera and her friends inside the greenhouse were muddled and hard to imagine the full visual. Despite the above default, the story packs a solid punch and intends to deliver it perfectly. 

With sublime interweaving of history and magical realism, this book exhibits the long-forgotten story of India's division and its after-effect through the eyes of Maera and her family.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of the book for review!

Gosh this book was so interesting! It paralleled two timelines, which I've usually found I don't enjoy in books, but this one pulled it off so well. I found myself invested in the characters from both time periods. The book got off to a bit of a slow start, but once the plot got rolling, I could not put this book down and when I opened another book, all I wanted was to go back to this one. The way it seamlessly combines myth and real life was stunning, and I loved simultaneously learning about a new culture with the backdrop of an incredibly magical setting. I've only just finished this book, so I'm not exactly sure what to say about it, but I'd recommend it to fans of magical realism and literally anything else. Once you're sucked into the story, you're entranced for the rest of the book, and I was pleasantly surprised by this book.
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I plan to post my review on my blog on September 1, 2021. It is as follows:

In this book, Maera and her mother are still struggling to adjust to the mysterious disappearance of her brother ten years earlier. Then, a day after her grandfather passes, his greenhouse appears in Maera's backyard. The book jumps back and forth between Maera in present day and her grandfather's childhood. With the help of her cousin and friends, she must figure out what has caused the greenhouse to appear.

I was not prepared for how dark this book would be. It covers an era of Indian/Pakistani history that often goes untaught in schools. As such, the horrors that characters experienced were new to me. The chapters which centered around Maera's grandfather were more interesting and engaging to me. The imagery painted a creepy picture that had goosebumps trailing up my arms at times. 

Unfortunately, Maera did not feel like a very dynamic character and she made some decisions that didn't quite make sense. The ending felt rushed. I would have liked to have another fifty or one hundred pages to get to know Maera and her family better. That might have made her actions make more sense.

Though this book was not what I expected, I believe that it is valuable for young people to read because it provides a picture of an unspoken history. I would like to include it in my library because it provides a different perspective than many history textbooks do. Leila Siddiqui wrote in her author's note about how many children of immigrants, her included, are missing much of their family history. This would be a great book for parents and their children to discuss and open a dialogue about their own family history.
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I enjoyed this book and it made me think about the British Empire and the whole way in which the colonizers treated the countries they simply took over. I am British and so very much versed in the 2nd world war, but not from an Indian / Pakistan point of view. I also know about partition, but never really thought about how the line drawn to suddenly create 2 countries affected the people of India or how Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs were suddenly turned. Into bitter enemies. 
Costa Rica as a country is probably not as attuned to this as I am, but it’s an excellent book for schools to work with as a lot of the private schools do cover the 2nd world war and this opens up interesting multiple discussion points.

The magic element of it I also liked and think this fits well with superstitions and local beliefs in such creatures and possibilities. 

I never ask for an author to visit the store as it’s to generally practical. But a virtual author session with schools could be useful.
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It is usually a 50/50 chance as to whether I’ll enjoy a book with changing perspectives, but this author did it beautifully and with purpose. I love when a book takes me on an emotional journey and leaves me hungover and that is how I felt reading this book and jumping between both time periods.

Any things I didn’t like about the book were in characters that came off frustrating/annoying but I think that speaks as well to how good the book was that it got me so worked up about it and drew me in more.
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It’s really cool that different cultures are getting more representation. My best friend is South Asian and speaks Urdu and I love when I can send a book to her where she may be able to find a little bit of herself and culture written into a story. 

This was a cute story with a really interesting concept. The writing felt a little juvenile, like this could’ve been a middle grade series if the characters were younger, but overall a good read.
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I don't want to give any spoilers, so I won't go in detail. 'House of Glass Hearts' was a great read! I fell into this world very easily. The characters - Maera especially - had me on my toes. I loved the mystery to it all and I found myself smiling through the read. I would definitely recommend this.
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Could not access book. The format was un-openable. 
I will give this a three stars, as 1) it sounds great 2) the cover is stunning 3) I have heard great things about it.
I'm really upset that it would not open, but I hope this is explanatory enough.
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I enjoyed this book, especially India and Pakistan history, although I don't think I am targeted audience for this book, often I found the main character childish, but overall it was a good read.  3,5/5⭐

Thank you NetGalley for providing digital advanced copy in exchange for honest review.
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A Pakistani-American girl finds a magical greenhouse in her backyard after her grandfather passes, and tries to learn it's secrets and reunite her family.  
I loved this book. I loved that it's premise was based in Middle-Eastern and Indian history, culture, and folklore, which is underrepresented in general, but especially the literary community. I also loved the discussion and themes of trauma, particularly intergenerational trauma, grief, and thought that these themes were discussed maturely, but in a way that could also be relatable to teen readers. 
I felt at times that the modern day characters seemed flat, but I loved the perspective of the historical characters in flashbacks - they seemed alive and tangible to me. 
It inspired me to learn more about Indian and Middle Eastern history and it's culture and folklore. 
Overall, I would read this again and recommend it.
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House of Glass Hearts is a story about coming to terms with generational trauma intertwined with South Asian folklore and magical realism. 10 years prior to the start of this story, Maera's (our main character) family experiences a tragic loss and, at the start of the novel, they are still suffering from it. The novel is split between the present day struggles of Maera and her mother and journal entries from Maera's grandfather in 1940s India. Through these journal entries, Maera and her cousin learn of the tragedies and strife that their grandfather experienced during the Partition of India and Pakistan after World War ll. 

Things I liked:
- Naana's (Maera's grandfather) journal entries were intense, emotional and shocking. I felt really invested in Haroon/Naana's journey and was devastated to read about what he went through. Like Leila Siddiqui mentions in her author's note, this history of India and Pakistan is often glazed over in history classes. I hadn't realized that Indians were forced to fight for the British and I wasn't aware of the emotional and phyiscal destruction that happened during the Partition. 
- The ending of the story was beautiful and it truly felt like the three generations of Maera's family were able to begin healing in some way.
- Learning about some elements of Pakistani and Indian folklore was really fascinating. Using supernatural beings  to teach lessons and tell stories can be really interesting and valuable.

Things I didn't like:
- I thought a lot of the present day characters fell flat. Rob, Sara, and Jimmy/Jamal really only have 1-2 character traits and they're sort of just there for Maera to play off of. I think it would have been nice to have a couple chapters after the prologue that just focused on a normal week for these characters. I just didn't get a chance to really connect to them.
- I also think the world-building of the present day was a little lacking. We get all this lush description of India and Pakistan through Haroon's POV, but all we know about where Maera lives is that it's summer in some Virginia suburb and we only hear about the rest of her neighborhood in the last few chapters. 
- Maera's crush on Rob also felt a little random; I can understand how this would happen in normal life, but it didn't really add to the plot in any way.

My overall rating for this novel is a 3.25 out of 5 stars. Huge thanks to Netgalley and Yali Books for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this ARC.
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I thought this was a very good book. I don’t usually read books that involve historical fiction, but this one was very interesting. I feel like I learned a lot about a culture I am not very familiar with. There were also some thrilling parts that kept me coming back for more. Honestly I could see this being an awesome movie!
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Title: House of Glass Hearts
Score: ⭐⭐
Recommended Age: +13
English level: B1-B2

This book has a combination of fantasy, mystery, and historical events.
I liked that he tells us the history of India, Pakistan and how they suffered and passed the wars in 1940 and a great detail was made to me as well as joins it with fantasy.
Maera tells us the story of a girl who lost her brother when she was little and after something appears in her house, she relives the memory of her brother and tries to find out what happened to him while learning more about his family history. .
The characters seemed good to me but I need more than to delve into their history and in parts it confuses me because it tells you in the present and in the past.
I feel that this book was not for me and I do not know if it is because I have read books with more fantasy and expected more from the story.
It is a good book to start off with fantasy and mystery for young adults.
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